May 11, 2022 – The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cybercrime Wing has arrested a man in Peshawar for allegedly uploading doctored images of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz. Maryam had filed a complaint with the agency last week against the “objectionable” photos circulating on social media.
According to the FIR, the suspect, who is a resident of Warsak Road in Peshawar, has been booked under Sections 21 and 24 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA), and Section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Maryam confirmed on May 5 that she had lodged a complaint with the FIA against the fake compromising content targeting her on social media. A day later, the FIA released a statement, announcing an investigation into the matter.
“Strict legal action, in [the] shape of imprisonment and fines, will be taken against the persons involved in making and spreading these videos,” stated the FIA. “People are advised to stop sharing these videos.”
— Federal Investigation Agency – FIA (@FIA_Agency) May 5, 2022
Local media has reported the suspect to be a worker associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Former PTI MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan also tweeted a copy of the FIR, questioning the arrest.
Last month, the FIA launched a crackdown and arrested at least eight men for allegedly running a smear campaign against state institutions. The arrests were made in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Faisalabad following the ouster of PTI Chief Imran Khan as prime minister.
On Tuesday, May 10, the FIA faced strict remarks from Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who sought explanation from the agency over its recent press release against Bol anchorperson Sami Ibrahim. Ibrahim has been accused by the FIA of spreading “anti-state” content online while staying abroad. The journalist, who is currently in the United States, will return to Pakistan on May 14. The FIA has been ordered to not arrest Ibrahim upon his return.